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April 28

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“The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy” (Proverbs 14:10 NKJV).

From: April 28, 2020


John Donne wrote that “no man is an island,” illustrating his conviction that we should recognize the unity and commonality of all humanity. Yet, the Proverb teaches that there is within a man that which cannot be fully shared nor understood by another. For the depth of one’s bitterness and the height of one’s joy is a unique and personal thing.
Does the Proverb negate the theme of Donne’s poem? No. For Donne spoke of the commonality of humanity’s condition, while the Proverb spoke of the uniqueness of the individual heart’s feeling. Two sisters may experience the loss of their mother, yet each will grieve uniquely. They share a common experience, but their feelings about it are particular.
Therefore, let us be careful when saying to someone, “I know how you feel.” You may have had a similar experience, but that doesn’t mean you share the same feeling. This is especially important when we wish to comfort those that are grieving or struggling with depression. For our feelings may not nearly match the color nor the degree of theirs.
Indeed, there is a deep solitude in each of our souls, so that we even have trouble knowing our own feelings, never mind those of another. Yet we can pray as the psalmist, saying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties” (Psalm 139:23). For the Lord knows how we feel even before we do.
PRAYER: Dear Father, You know us better than we know ourselves. Give us discernment to know our own hearts and empathy and compassion to understand the hearts of others, especially those who are hurting. For we are called to comfort one another and to bear one another’s burdens. Speak to our hearts Holy Spirit and give us wisdom to know what to say and do that truly encourages. For You are our Comforter. In Jesus’ name, amen.

‘When Jotham heard about this, he climbed to the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem! Listen to me if you want God to listen to you!”‘ (Judges 9:7 NLT).

From: April 28, 2019


Jotham was the only surviving son of Gideon. All of his brothers had been murdered by their half-brother, Abimelech and Jotham had barely escaped with his life. Abimelech had conspired with his mother’s family who lived in the town of Shechem. Afterwards, the citizens of Shechem made him their king. When Jotham heard about their treachery, he climbed Mount Gerizim to call down God’s judgment on the inhabitants of Shechem and the murderer, Abimelech.
Surely, the irony of the location would not have been lost on the citizens of Shechem. For Shechem lay in the valley between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, the two mountains where Moses had instructed the people to divide into two groups and shout the blessings and the curses from God’s law (See Deut. 11:29, 27:12, Joshua 8:33). The significance of hearing Jotham shouting God’s judgment down on them from Mount Gerizim would have been evident. Never mind the fact that Shechem had been set apart to be a “city of refuge” (Joshua 21:21), a place where convicted murderers were not to be protected.
It had been in Shechem that Joshua renewed the covenant with Israel saying, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15). Yet now years later, the people of Shechem had chosen the murderer Abimelech as their king. And the judgment called down from Mount Gerizim would soon come upon them.
Shechem had chosen to go against God’s law and against the very calling of their city as a place of refuge. They did this with full knowledge, so that they were without excuse.
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for forgiving our sins through Jesus, our Refuge. For He alone is able to save. You have rescued us from the curse of sin and have blessed us with your righteousness and eternal life. Shechem cannot live up to its calling. But You, Lord Jesus, have surely lived up to Yours! Thank you for saving us and adopting us as children of God. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock” (Luke 23:53 NLT).

From: April 28, 2018

Jesus was born to the virgin, Mary, and He was laid in a newly hewn tomb that belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. That Joseph along with his friend, Nicodemus, both members of the Jewish high council, would ask Pilate for the body and prepare it for burial, was extraordinary. The risk and sacrifice they took to bury Jesus was many. They risked Pilate’s wrath just asking for the body, which would normally have been left hanging for days before being thrown on the garbage heap of Gehenna. They risked their standing with the Jewish leaders. They sacrificed time and money purchasing the tomb, the linen and spices, which were very expensive. Finally, they were made ceremonially unclean by their handling of Jesus’ dead body, so that they could not participate in the paschal feast.
It was important that Christ’s body be placed in a new tomb, so that there would be no confusion concerning His resurrection. If His body had gone missing in a garbage dump, there could have been many explanations. But the empty tomb itself bears witness to His resurrection.
The prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning both the Messiah’s virgin birth (Isa. 7:14) and that He would be buried in a “rich man’s grave” (Isa. 53:9). Jesus was born from a virgin womb and buried in a virgin tomb. Every aspect of His life, death, burial and resurrection were in fulfillment of the Scriptures.

‘But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.”’ (Judges 8:23 NKJV).

From: April 28, 2017

Gideon, the hesitant judge, would not be coaxed into being king. He recognized that it was the Lord, and not the people, who had called him to be a judge and lead Israel against the Midianites. Therefore, he did not recognize the people’s authority to name him king and rightly refused. He overcame the temptation to accept power that did not belong to him.
However, in this moment of victory over the Midianites and victory over temptation to power, he made the mistake of allowing the spoils of victory to become a snare to him. For the golden earrings that he requested from each of his warrior’s share of the spoils became like the golden calf to him and all of Israel. Gideon stepped over one snare only to become entangled in another.
And so we pray as the Lord Jesus taught us, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” For even in our best moments we are still vulnerable to sin. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

“And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb” (Luke 24:2 ESV)

From: April 28, 2016

After the Sabbath, several women went early in the morning to the tomb of Jesus to anoint his body. On the way, they worried about who might move the large stone, so they could gain entrance (Mark 16:3). Yet, when they arrived at the tomb they were surprised to find that the stone was already rolled away. Matthew’s gospel reported that an angel had moved the stone (Matt.28:2). But why? Did the Lord need help getting out? Certainly not. He that could overcome death and the grave needed no help moving a stone. Besides, as John’s gospel reported, the resurrected Jesus had no need of doors anymore (John 20:19). No, the stone wasn’t moved for Jesus. It was moved for the women. It was moved, so that they might bear witness to the empty tomb. God moved the stone that they might believe that Jesus was risen just as He said.

“Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two” (Luke 23:45 NKJV)

From: April 28, 2015

The curtain that separated the holy of holies in the Jewish temple was torn open when Jesus died. Only the high priest was allowed to go behind the curtain on the Day of Atonement. But now, Jesus has become our Great High Priest, opening up the way for all who are in Him to have access to the Father. And so, we can approach God with confidence, praying in the Name of Jesus, for the curtain that separated sinful man from a holy God has been removed.

“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” (Luke 24:5 NLT)

From: April 28, 2014

This question asked by the angel at Jesus’ empty tomb is still relevant today. Christ’s first century followers had to be reminded that Jesus had told them he would be crucified and would arise from the grave three days later. It wasn’t that they suffered from amnesia. They didn’t simply forget what Jesus had said. Perhaps they thought he was merely speaking metaphorically or that his prediction had some hidden spiritual meaning. Whatever the reason, they were surprised to discover the tomb empty and Jesus alive. Many today look for Jesus “among the dead.” They read dusty doctrines and puffy philosophies looking for him. They search for him in skeptical histories and among agnostic catacombs. They look with their eyes but they never open their hearts. They never consider the possibility that Jesus is alive. That he is risen. He is not someone just to read about, but to meet. Why keep looking for the living among the dead? Invite Jesus to reveal Himself to you. He is alive.

“And the curtain of the temple was torn in two” (Luke 23:45 ESV)

From: April 28, 2013

The curtain that separated the holy of holies in the Jewish temple was torn when Jesus died. Only the high priest was allowed to go behind the curtain on the Day of Atonement. But now, Jesus has become our Great High Priest, opening up the way for all who are in Him to have access to the Father. And so, we can approach God with confidence, praying in the Name of Jesus, for the curtain that separated sinful man from a holy God has been removed.

“Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation” (Proverbs 14:9)

From: April 28, 2012

Psychologists tell us we shouldn’t feel guilty, saying, “Guilt is a relic of religion.” But the Bible says they are fools. Do you know why we feel guilty? Because we are. Rather than denying or medicating our guilt, why not acknowledge it and let the blood of Jesus remove it?

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5)

From: April 28, 2011

Do we make the same mistake as the women who went to Jesus’ tomb? Do we go looking where we last heard from Him? Asking Him for an encore experience? Jesus is alive and He is on the move. Ask the Spirit to show you where He is at work today.